Sudan: Hemeti Defends Actions of Sudan RSF in West Kordofan

El Fula / Lagawa — Vice President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo has called on Abdelaziz El Hilu, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N El Hilu) and Abdelwahid El Nur, leader of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) in Darfur, “to stick to their positions until the [political] settlement is complete.”

During his address to the Forum of Native Administration Leaders in West Kordofan on Sunday, the militia leader explained that the RSF intervened in fighting in Lagawa town in West Kordofan because members of SPLM-N El Hilu were killing people in the town.

Lagawa, in the eastern part of West Kordofan, is part of the Nuba Mountains, and inhabited by Misseriya cattle herders who settled in the area and Nuba farmers who have lived there for centuries.

El Hilu and El Nur “cause trouble and then complain afterwards,” said Hemeti, calling on the rebel movements to stick to their positions for now. He accused SPLM-N El Hilu members of kidnapping children from the Misseriya tribe in Lagawa.

He also accused certain “hypocritical” parties of being behind tribal conflicts in various parts of the country, noting the absence of the Rule of Law in the country. The RSF welcome the investigation of all the cases brought against them and is ready to bring any accused in their ranks to justice, according to the commander.

Last week, the SLM-AW accused the RSF and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) of launching an armed attack in northern Jebel Marra in central Darfur on Thursday which left 13 dead.

Hemeti acknowledged the fairness of demands by Misseriya in West Kordofan concerning compensation for the oil fields in the area. He recognised the exploitation of pastures and water in oil production, along with the need to implement the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, which stipulates granting 40 per cent of West Kordofan’s oil revenues to the state itself.

He also called on the native administration leaders to stay away from politics and devote themselves to the interests of their families. “We are African Muslims, not Arabs,” he said.

Sudan is a diverse society made up of over 19 major ethnic groups and over 500 different languages, along with a number of different cultures and religions. The country has historically been dominated by a light-skinned, Arabic-speaking elite, while black Africans in the south and west of the country have faced discrimination and marginalisation. The Dagalo family belongs to the ‘Arab’ Rizeigat tribe.

On Sunday, native administration leaders from South and West Kordofan gathered in Khartoum to discuss ways of reaching security and stability in the region. They demanded the strengthening of the security forces and the persecution of “outlaws” in the two states. They criticised the authorities’ failure to prosecute outlaws.

There is a pressing need to sign a peace agreement between the central government and SPLM-N El Hilu, said the leaders. Demanding better health, education, water, and road services, the leaders also expressed the need for a high-level mechanism for peaceful coexistence.

Countrywide change

Hemeti also expressed his support for the ongoing negotiations between the mainstream Forces for Freedom and Change and the military junta to reach a political settlement for the establishment of a new transitional government during his address.

SPLM-N El Hilu and SLM-AW have both rejected the upcoming agreement between the Forces for Freedom and Change and the military.

He said that Sudan will not return to military dictatorship. He stressed the need for countrywide change “in order for Sudan to return to normal.”

“We agree with the youth on the street who are rejecting us,” he said, accusing unnamed parties of using double standards of dealing with anti-junta and pro-Al-Bashir regime demonstrators.

He condemned security forces’ actions during recent demonstrations in the capital, including closing bridges and assaulting certain protestors depending on their political affiliation.


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